AJ McCarron NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report and More

Ryan LownesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2014

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) celebrates a touch down scored by Alabama tight end O.J. Howard (88) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU , Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Dave Martin/Associated Press

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama (HT: 6’3¼", WT: 220 lbs)

Cincinnati Bengals

Fifth Round: 164th Pick 

NFL Comparison: Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans

Combine Weigh-in
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Combine Workout
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  • Experienced three-year starter, had a prolific college career and set multiple school records; a battle-tested leader who played in and won big games
  • Good accuracy and ball placement in the short and intermediate levels; allows his receivers to gain yards after the catch and puts the ball where only they can get it
  • Can throw the deep ball accurately with touch and perfect trajectory
  • Appears to be able to read defenses; generally makes good decisions and effectively limits turnovers
  • Average arm strength; can make the throws
  • Displays enough velocity in the intermediate to deep levels of the field; can throw outside the numbers accurately with enough zip
  • More than adequate size, measured just over 6'3" and 220 pounds at the Combine
  • Knows where his checkdown is located, will dump the ball off to a safety valve and keep the chains moving
  • Great intangibles; appears to be a good teammate with a strong work ethic and high football IQ
  • While not a threat to hurt opponents with his legs, he displays decent athleticism; is not a statue, fairly light on his feet and quick in his drop
  • Generally displays good throwing mechanics with a smooth over-the-top delivery 
  • Shows some maneuverability to buy extra time
  • Protects his body from unnecessary hard hits by sliding or running out of bounds
  • Throws fairly well rolling to his right 
  • Played fairly well on the big stage; won three national championships at Alabama, two as the starting quarterback 


  • Lacks pocket presence; can be overwhelmed by pressure
  • Questionable pocket awareness; has trouble identifying the blitz 
  • Drops his eyes and has a tendency to panic under duress; pulls the ball down prematurely when opponents bring the heat
  • Lacks mobility, is not especially elusive in the pocket nor will he hurt opponents on the ground
  • Not much of an improviser; lacks the ability to make something out of nothing
  • Retreats in the pocket and tends to fade away from his intended target
  • Inconsistent deep passer, occasionally making his receivers break stride and adjust to underthrown passes
  • Has trouble resetting when he is forced to move to his left
  • Footwork tends to break down under pressure; will revert to throwing off of his back foot
  • Struggles to adjust when his receivers' routes are disrupted
  • May have earned a reputation as a game-manager; has a conservative nature
  • Benefited greatly from steady pass protection and a consistently effective running game
  • Declining to participate in the Senior Bowl rubbed some the wrong way


Collegiate Statistics
Source: ESPN.com


Personal Notes

  • Second-team All-SEC 2013
  • Maxwell Award 2013
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award 2013
  • Second-team All-SEC 2012
  • Third-team All-American 2012
  • BCS National Championship MVP 2012
  • Redshirted 2009
  • Team captain as a senior
  • 36-4 record as a starter
  • Graduated with a degree in health studies


Ratings Chart




Following a prolific college career in which he won two national titles and several personal accolades, AJ McCarron will be out to prove that he can be an effective starting quarterback in the NFL.

While his decision not to perform at the Senior Bowl disappointed fans and scouts alike, he will have a chance to show teams what he can do later in the process.

An efficient, intelligent and accurate passer, he would fit best in a West Coast offense. Though he appears to have the makings of a strong backup, he possesses starter potential in the right spot.


Draft Projection: Third-Fourth Round